The Content of Their Character Forty Years Later
December 2004By David C. Stolinsky
David C. Stolinsky, M.D., who is of the Jewish faith, lives in Los Angeles. He is retired after 25 years of medical school teaching at the University of California at San Francisco and the University of Southern California. His writings can be seen at www.stolinsky.com.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1963.
Dont be judgmental.
Liberal teachers, professors, pundits,and clergy, 2004.
The word judgmental, in the sense of being critical of someones actions or character, dates only from the 1960s. What does using this word in this sense reveal about our thinking? How does it affect our actions?
Specifically, how can we follow Dr. Kings advice, and at the same time believe it is wrong to be judgmental? I dont think we can.
For a generation, we have been discarding criteria by which to judge a persons character. We removed the Ten Commandments from schools and courthouses. We tossed out the Bible and all that goes with it. We threw away the rulebook, so we are in no position to complain when someone breaks the rules. What rules? He may have broken your rules, but he didnt break his rules and his rules are as valid as anyones, arent they?
But if by chance we still have a complaint, where do we direct it? We have done our best to remove God from public life. In addition to ripping up the rulebook, we turned our backs on the Referee. Instead, we have a noisy cheering section that keeps chanting, Dont be judgmental who are we to judge? Who, indeed? After all, were not perfect, are we?
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